Also known as the century plant, the agave is a perennial succulent plant that is well-suited for growing in pots. Agaves typically have fleshy, spear-shaped leaves with spines. Most agave species are tough plants, withstanding temperature extremes, droughts and high winds. Agaves are also rarely bothered by diseases and insect pests. You can easily grow agave plants in pots, moving them outdoors during summer or keeping them indoors year-round.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- Planter pot
- Cacti potting mix or potting soil and coarse sand
- Liquid houseplant fertiliser
Place your agave in a container that has drainage holes in the bottom. Fill the container with a very well-draining potting mix, such as a commercial mix made for cacti and succulent plants that's usually a mixture of potting soil, sand and perlite. Alternatively, you can use a mix of 1 part sterile potting soil and 1 part coarse sand. Pot the agave at the same depth as it was planted in the nursery container.
Position your agave in bright light, such as in a sunny window. You can use artificial lighting by positioning a white fluorescent tube 6 to 12 inches above the agave plant, keeping the light turned on for 14 to 16 hours each day.
Maintain air temperatures around your potted agave of 18.3 to 21.1 degrees Celsius during the day and at least 55 degrees at night. Agaves can thrive in much hotter temperatures -- up to 100 degrees or more during the daytime -- but hotter conditions can promote diseases.
Water your potted agave thoroughly only when the potting mix dries out completely. Provide water until it begins to drain from the bottom of the pot. During winter, you should water your agave only right before the plant is about to wither, usually once every two or three weeks.
Feed your agave with a liquid houseplant fertiliser at half the normal dosage rate once in late spring and again in summer. Ensure that the fertiliser contains more phosphorous than nitrogen by looking at the "nitrogen-phosphorous-potassium" or NPK ratio on the label.
Tips and warnings
- You can set your potted agave outdoors during the warmer spring and summer months, placing the plant in a partially shaded location at first and then moving it into a sunnier spot. Move the agave back indoors during the cooler months when daytime temperatures fall below 65 degrees and nighttime temperatures are lower than 55 degrees.
- Propagate your agave by taking stem cuttings or leaf cuttings or by seeds or plant divisions. Leaf cuttings are most commonly used for propagating agaves. Air-dry the cut leaf and then insert the severed end of the leaf into a pot filled with sterile, moistened sand. Water the cutting only when the sand dries out completely and then transplant the leaf cutting into the coarse sand and potting soil mixture after it forms roots.
- Avoid overwatering and overfertilizing your potted agave, particularly during the winter. When you water your agave, don't allow the plant to sit in pooled water. After about one hour, discard any water that's in the drainage dish. Don't fertilise the agave during winter.
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